Eight weeks in Australia and counting. I love my home country, but it’s time to get back to New York.
The O-1B visa is a real wake up call for your ass if you’ve been living in the States on the comparatively simple E3 as I have for the past six years. The amount of paperwork needed to prove I’m worthy of being deemed a “creative talent” and eligible to live and work freely (as opposed to being restricted to one employer as I was before) is mind-boggling. My immigration lawyer Susan B. Henner emailed me this weekend to let me know the last piece of the puzzle—an evaluation from a “peer group” (in my case, a radio advisory board) that officially co-signs what I do—has finally arrived, so she’s filing for the visa with the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) on Monday. If all things go smoothly, the visa should be ready within 15 working days (I paid the $1225 expedite fee for this) and then an interview is set up at the US consulate in Sydney for me. God willing, I’ll be back on US soil within the next month and ready for the next challenge headed my way: securing more work in addition to my gigs with DrJays.com and SiriusXM.
I spent this past week reaching out to local media types in Sydney, investigating whether or not the usually myopic entertainment industry would be interested in having a New York-based news correspondent with years of experience and a fresh voice. In addition to the posterbook I’m currently working on for the market, I’ve decided I’d like to build a stronger presence here. I’ve always been an outsider when it comes to the industry in Australia, so actively seeking a profile is something I’ve shied away from. And so far, not much luck. A recent conversation with a friend of mine, a successful celebrity wardrobe stylist that lives between Sydney and Los Angeles, reiterated my thoughts on just how scared Australia is to take chances when it comes to introducing and nurturing new talent. Risk-taking is rarely encouraged, but that won’t deter me. I’ll keep knocking on doors and if I need to break ’em down to make a way in, I’ve done it before and can do it again. With everything I do, completing this mission isn’t just for me; it’s for every young minority kid in West Sydney with what seems like a crazy dream to make it on a major level (“I’m strong enough to carry Biggie Smalls on my back/And the whole BK, ni**a holla back,” as Jay-Z says in “Moment Of Clarity”).
Special shout out to Iggy Azalea for dropping in this week with her own “American Dreamin'” story.
The journey continues.
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